Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Exodus 20:17 (NIV)
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Exodus 20:17 (MSG)
No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.
“You shall not covet [that is, selfishly desire and attempt to acquire] your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” -Amplified
The last of the Ten Commandments deals with a strong, ungodly desire that can take over the heart and mind; covetousness. To covet is to be envious; having a strong desire to possess something that belongs to someone else.
The NIV footnote imparts this helpful information: “Desire something with evil motivation. To break God’s commandments inwardly is equivalent to breaking them outwardly.” Remember, God sees the heart.
Covetousness has to do with greed and is equated with avariciousness; which is a strong desire for riches. It is more of a need to have something just for the having sake; not necessarily because of any need. It is a selfish desire that is thinking only of self-gratification.
God basically tells us there should be no lusting after anything that belongs to our neighbor. In fact, He says, “Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.” That desire to have something that belongs to another is wrong; whether it is a house, wife, ox, donkey, servant or even his dog. Jesus warns us about greed, “Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” -Luke 12:15 (NIV)
We need to be satisfied in what we have. The Apostle Paul is a good example to follow in learning how to be content with what we have. He was able to say, “I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.” -Philippians 4:10-14 (MSG)
The writer of Hebrews advocates that we be content or happy with what we already have. “Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, “God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?” -Hebrews 13:5-6 (MSG)
The opposite of covetousness is not only contentment, but generosity, kindness, goodwill, unselfishness, sympathy, and largess; all things that a child of God should be known of having. Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over [with no space left for more]. For with the standard of measurement you use [when you do good to others], it will be measured to you in return.” -Luke 6:38 (AMP)
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Don’t allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed. Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect. You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.” -Ephesians 5:1-5 (MSG)
“You can always give without loving, but you can never love without giving.” -Amy Carmichael
“The most obvious lesson in Christ’s teaching is that there is no happiness in having or getting anything, but only in giving.” -Henry Drummond
Lord, please keep my heart pure. Do not let my heart and mind wander to wanting and desiring things that I do not have, but instead, help me to be content with what I do have. I know that I need to be giving thanks for the blessings I have. Thank you for all you have given me. Thank you for your blessings that flow through my life on a daily basis. Thank you that you will take care of all of my needs according to your riches in glory. I will be content with what I have, Lord. You are faithful and you will take care of my every need. I give you praise!